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Update:  The 7/2/2024 Public Censure and Removal of Dave Donelson from boards is a go.  Truly distrubing what these 5 Councilmembers are doing.  It's Brian Risley, Nancy Henjum, Michelle Talarico, David Leinweber, Yolanda Avila supported by Council President Randy Helms.  These charts are what they are so upset about -- they don't want the public to know and will try to argue this is normal.  It isn't. Vote them out!
 
City Council Conflicts of Interests

Stunning City Council Meltdown during Arrowswest Hearing on 6/25/2024
Councilmember Dave Donelson Facing Censure and Removal from all Boards for calling out potential conflicts-of-interest.  Video starts with comments about the building height limit meeting & ordinance to limit campaign donations.

During quasi-judicial hearings, Deputy City Attorney, Ben Bollinger, who acts as the City Attorney (despite the fact that the INDEPENDENT ETHICS COMMISISON has declared that he isn't subject to the City Ethics Code), typically polls the City Councilmembers asking them to disclose any conflicts-of-interests or ex parte conversations (private conversations with any of the developer applicants or citizens).  However, Deputy City Attorney Ben Bollinger (who acts as City Attorney) did not do this prior to the Arrowswest hearing.  So, Councilmember Dave Donelson asked that they do so. Donelson later noted that 3 of the councilmembers, Councilmember Risley, Councilmember Talarico and Councilmember Leinweber, all received $2,500 donations from Weidner, the developer.  (Councilmember Donelson missed Lynette Crow-Iverson who also received $2,500 from Weidner which meant that there was $10,000 of Weidner money sitting on that dais.) Deputy City Attorney Ben Bollinger noted that donations are excluded from conflicts of interest. 

 

A good analogy to this situation would be to the legal system concerning laws requiring judges to recuse themselves due to conflicts of interest.  As City Council decisions are quadi-judicial, rules to avoid even the appearance of impropriety must be followed.  In fact, this is precisely why Deputy City Attorney Ben Bollinger polls the City Council before votes. Federal law requires judges to recuse themselves in these circumstances:

Federal Judges: Under federal law, specifically 28 U.S.C. § 455, federal judges must disqualify themselves in any proceeding in which their impartiality might reasonably be questioned. This includes situations where they have a personal bias or prejudice concerning a party, or have a financial interest in the subject matter in controversy or in a party to the proceeding. Significant campaign contributions by an attorney to a judge's election campaign could be seen as grounds for recusal to avoid the appearance of bias.  Caperton v. A.T. Massey Coal Co.: In this landmark U.S. Supreme Court case, the Court held that due process requires recusal when the probability of actual bias on the part of the judge or decisionmaker is too high to be constitutionally tolerable. This case involved a situation where a judge had received substantial campaign contributions from the CEO of a company involved in a case before the judge.

Colorado law also requires this:

In Colorado, judges are required to recuse themselves from cases in which their impartiality might reasonably be questioned. This includes situations where an attorney involved in the case has made significant campaign contributions to the judge. Specifically, under the Colorado Code of Judicial Conduct, Rule 2.11, a judge must disqualify themselves if a party, party's lawyer, or the law firm of a party's lawyer has made substantial contributions to the judge's campaign...

In truth, many states and municipalities have similar legal requirements official like City Councilmembers:  

The entire state of CA just enacted The Levine Act which requires local elected officials to recuse themselves from decisions involving contributors who have donated more than $250 within the past 12 months. This is to ensure impartiality and prevent any undue influence from campaign donors​. 

 

In fact, many states/municipalities have enacted these laws.  We agree. 

 

On Tuesday morning, following the outrageous Monday refusal of 7 members of the City Council to allow the citizens to speak at the hearing much less vote on the future of their city and building height limits, the entire City Council, except Mike O'Malley and Dave Donelson, denied voters the right to vote on build height limits. That morning, we submitted an ordinance to limit campaign contributions to $100 per person or group (i.e. dark money or developer donations) and makes elections about ideas not ideology and stops a few rich guys from sending a bunch of direct mail pieces to buy our leadership.  It also includes a $10,000 matching contribution from the City to make elections more accessible and equitable.  Boulder does this, and it costs them about $76,000 or 15 cents/taxpayer to have fair elections.  Seems like a tax well worth paying to get representation that reflects the will of the people.  We encourage you to watch this absurd display (above), and, if you agree, email City Council (allcouncil@coloradosprings.gov) and copy us and the press:  integritymatterscos@gmail.com, breeanna.jent@gazette.com, mary.shinn@gazette.com, chelsea.brentzel@krdo.com, akeith@kktv.com, achalfin@krcc.org, asack@kxrm.com, andy.koen@koaa.com, news@kktv.com, news@krdo.com, news@koaa.com, news@fox21news.com, news@cpr.com, talkshow@aol.com.

Tell City Council, you DO want them to recuse when they have received donations from a developer over $250, and that Councilmember Donelson was correct in calling this out as the public has a right to know.

Below you will find a summary of Developer & Developer-related industries as well as Dark Money (suspected to be also tied to developers). Councilmember Lynette-Crow Iverson, Councilmember Leinweber, Councilmember Risely and Councilmember Talarico ran in the April 2023 election, and the others ran in the April 2021 election in which there was only Dark Money behind issues like the TOPS tax.  Many may be surprised to see just how much developer money has gone into these candidat especially Ms. Henjum and Ms. Avila perceived by many as liberals. We weren't, but we thank the Council for giving us the opportunity to focus on this again as it has been on our to do list.  Follow the money.

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$1,040,891.81 of Developer+Dark Money Investment in this City Council.  Is that a conflict of interest?
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Citizens for Responsible Leadership
Citizens for Protecting Our Water
Notable Endorsements:
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John Suthers
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John Suthers
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Many people do not understand that the disclaimer on those direct mail pieces can tell you a lot about a candidate.  Here's just one of the 3 or 4 direct mail ads the Dark Money groups ran in the April 2023 municpal election - citywide.  The two candidate Dark Money groups who spent the most were Citizens for Responsible Leadership & Citizens for Protecting Our Water.  These direct mail ads are very expensive.  Here's an example of one:
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